Bobby Castillo who pitched for the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Dodgers died on June 30th in a Los Angeles hospital after a battle with cancer. The 5’10″ right-handed pitching Castillo was originally drafted by the Kansas City Royals in round 6 of the Jaanuary 1974 amateur draft. The Los Angeles Dodgers purchased Castillo from the Royals in June of 1977 and Castillo pitched for the Dodgers from 1977-1981 posting a 13-14 record with a 3.42 ERA in 138 games primarily in relief.
The Twins acquired Castillo along with outfielder Bobby Mitchell from the Dodgers in a January 1982 trade for pitcher Paul Voigt and utility man Scotti Madison. The Twins turned Castillo into a starter in 1982 and the man who had never pitched more than 99 innings in a season for the Dodgers had a career season going 13-11 with 3.66 ERA in 25 starts. Castillo also pitched 15 games in relief and when the Twins dismal 60-102 season finally ended, Castillo had pitched 218.2 innings. In 1983 Castillo was 8-12 in 25 starts with a 4.77 ERA and in 1984 he pitched sparingly for the Twins mostly in relief (just 10 games) and had a 2-1 record with a 1.78 ERA. Castillo became a free agent after the 1984 season and resigned with the Dodgers where he pitched his final big league season in 1985. Castillo, who attended Lincoln High School, finished with a career record of 38-40 with a 3.94 ERA in 250 games, making 59 starts. He pitched for LA in the 1981 National League Championship Series, the World Series that same year and the 1985 NLCS. After his big league career had ended, Castillo pitched for the Monterrey Sultanes and the Mexican League in 1986 and the Chunichi Dragons in the Japanese Central League in 1987.
Castillo, also affectionately known as “Babo,” has often been credited with teaching former Dodger great Fernando Valenzuela his infamous screwball. “I was very saddened to hear about Bobby’s passing this morning,” Castillo’s former teammate Fernando Valenzuela said.”“He was a great teammate and friend. I’ll always be grateful for his influence on my pitching. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends.”
Castillo has been dedicated member of the Dodger organization since his retirement, participating in events including hospital visits, autograph signings and kids holiday parties and baseball clinics.
He is survived by his mother, Nellie, daughters, Mellanie and Sara, son-in-law, Andrew Sanchez, son Robert III, and his sister, Lorraine, and her husband, Peter Gonzalez. Castillo had three nieces and nephews, nine grand nieces and nephews and two grandchildren, Jackson and Lila.
Bobby Castillo is the 65th former Minnesota Twins player to pass away. RIP Mr. Castillo and thank you for the memories!